Michigan Disaster Services Volunteers & Staff Awards

Honoring Red Cross Volunteers & Staff Who Made a Difference in Disaster Services Across Michigan in 2021

The service and passion of volunteers and staff is at the heart of all that goes on across the Red Cross Michigan Region every day. Throughout 2021, these dedicated people showed up every day to help those in need despite challenges caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, staffing shortages, economic challenges and any number of other problems that arise. No obstacle was too large for this exceptional team. That is why on January 20, 2022 the Red Cross Michigan Region came together to honor some of the most outstanding volunteers and staff who gave their time to Disaster Services in Michigan in 2021.

Here, in their own words and in the words of those who nominated them, is what makes these honorees, the Michigan Region and the American Red Cross such an exceptional organization.

Distinguished Team Award

Kenneth Marks, Tamisha Naylor, Elmore Stinson (AmeriCorps)

We think – what are the needs? Then we can think of a strategy. We can go in and say to a resident, ‘I don’t want to monopolize your time, we’ll get in, install your smoke detector and get back out in five minutes. But you only have two minutes to get out in the event of a fire.’ Then you can use that strategy, especially for kids, to connect with the importance of smoke detectors. It’s something that saves lives. And that’s rewarding.”

Kenneth Marks

Distinguished Service Award

Susan London, Regional Compliance Lead

When you get to the Red Cross there’s so many options of what you can do. There’s a role for everyone. There are opportunities to make a difference if you look – and you will make a difference.”

Susan London

Distinguished Service Award

Susan Bandsma, Southwest Chapter Workforce Engagement

Without Susan’s lead, many of us in SW Michigan would not deploy. She knows all the classes DAT responders need, who has kept up, who needs more training. She constantly watches the door for openings and seems to know who would be a good fit. She also is a tireless advocate for community engagement. She is the reason I have continued with the Red Cross.

Fellow Volunteer, Nominator

Distinguished Staff Award

Nicole Pribbernow, Regional Direct Services Support Manager

The Red Cross gives you the ability to help people on their worst day. Even if you’re not the person on the scene, I love being able to support those volunteers and others on the ground so that their jobs are easier and less difficult. They are dropping everything within 24 hours they are giving up weeks of their lives to help this mission. It is amazing to be part of that. It is truly a team effort.”

Nicole Pribbernow

Outstanding Service Award

Steve Luedders, Regional Deployment Lead & Southeast Chapter Workforce Engagement

We’re a piece of the puzzle when it comes to disaster response. We do immediate help and then we refer people to other resources to help a family out, which makes a difference. It’s a chance to give back to the community and to help others that are less fortunate. You’re fulfilling a purpose and serving others.”

Steve Leudders

Excellence in Nursing Award

Liz Hill, Regional Health Services Lead

Liz was exceptional in her work ethic and skill in securing medication and equipment for our clients when their medical needs became apparent. Her creativity and perseverance was greatly noticed during the Detroit flooding and other disasters, and is only rivaled by her dedication to the clients. She executes her duties with great compassion while always attempting to alleviate suffering.”

Fellow Volunteer, Nominator

Excellence in Disaster Services Award

Bob Wilson, Regional Information and Planning Lead

There’s a lot of training and a lot of mentoring that goes on at the Red Cross. You never know the job until you get out there. We always make sure we know how to use the tools we have available to us to do the best work we can for people and the Red Cross, to work together to help.”

Bob Wilson

Honorary Lifetime Membership Award

Teresa “Tootie” Johnson, Mid-Michigan Chapter since 1947

Tootie has been a Red Cross volunteer since 1947. She has been involved in deploying, DAT, Feeding, and more things than I can put into this nomination. Even today, in her 80’s, she is willing and ready to deploy in Michigan and out of state. She is dedicated to the Red Cross mission, and has been all her life.


Thank you to each and every volunteer and staff member who dedicates their time to the Red Cross mission. Thank you especially to this year’s Disaster Services Michigan honorees – nominated by their fellow workers – who inspire us every day in so many ways.

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